La Costa Trailwork Day

Today my boys and I joined nearly 40 other volunteers to open the new Vista Del Mar trail and deconstruct/rehab and old unsustainable trail at the Rancho La Costa Preserve in Carlsbad. 

  La Costa Trail work 

Markus, Patrick and Jesssica from the Center for Natural Land Managment did an excellent job of showing us how to do the rehabilitation work as well as making sure there snacks and water available throughout the event. The picture abovie is of Jessica showing us how to plant the young plants and install an irrigation supplement. These things are really cool. They are a big glob of gel that is mostly water. We buried a couple of these gels with each plant and over the course of a month or so bacteria in the soil will slowly eat away the gel and release the water suspended in the gel in the soil.

 Schwag Galore

The event was sponsored by SDMBA, Spyoptics, Prana, El Camino Bike, Swami’s Bike Club and Squadra and my what a schwagfest they put on.   They made sure that even if you did not win something in the raffle, you still went home with something.  Very cool!

Will on the Wall 

Jake on the Easy Route

After the trailwork and raffle, we went out and tested out the trails.  This was the first time here for my boys and they had a hoot.   The rock wall technical feature was a major hit. Just before you get to it there is a really cool sign pointing you to either the easy or the hard route. This feature got throughly tested by both the young and the not-so young going in both directions. The really cool thing about the easy route is that it does not look so easy because it is made of rock, but in fact it is not much more difficult than a mound of dirt. It gives newer riders the reward of doing something harder without the actual risk of something harder. Jake (My eight year old son) rode it his first time up and giggled afterwards. Will (My 12-year son) wanted to take on the hard line. I was in catch mode, but it was not needed and he cleaned it on the second attempt.

A Big Hats off to Rich Julien from the San Diego Mountain Bike Association and Markus, Patrick and Jessica from the Center for Natural Land Management for working together to make the Vista Del Mar trail happen.

 Check out my Trail Work page for all of the pictures from the event along with a few more words.

-Bill

P.S.   I should have a page on this trail system in the next couple of weeks.

Back in the Saddle, Bushwacking, and 1FN Gear.

 

Yesterday was my first day back on the bike and it went alright.  The ride was to be mostly a show and tell with Rich concerning a La Costa to Elfin Forest connector that I would like to get legalized and improved upon.   I currently have BOTH of my geared bikes out-of-commission with frame cracks which meant I had to bust out the single speed.   The hills that are required on the ride today are not exactly single-speed friendly.  Now for a borderline clyde who has been off the bike for a couple of weeks it was downright hostile.  I put on my recently “Pushed” fork on the singlespeed and gave it a go.   I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the work Push did on this fork.  It felt better than it has ever felt.  I wanted plush, I got plush.  I wanted the Terrorlogic gone….Poof..Done!  The blowoff threshold on the new RLC damper was even better than the one on my other fork.  When the threshold is dialed why down and the fork is locked, it operates like the terralogic was supposed to work.   Mainly no harsh transitions when going from locked to unlocked.   Being that I was on a singlespeed I cranked up the threshold pretty good since I spent a good deal of my climbing time out of the saddle.   Money well spent in my book.


(Note: Fork is pre-push in this pic)

Rich and I made good use of the time getting a good close look at the lay of the land and getting a better idea of exactly where we want things to go.  Part of that meant a good chunk of bushwhacking up a pretty steep slope or two.  I did not think my legs got too exfoliated at the time, but the hot after-ride shower throughly convinced me otherwise.

If we can get this connector approved, it would make for a good day’s worth of riding in North County.  I won’t use the word epic, but it comes to mind.  We are going to discuss the connector idea more thoroughly with the most of the principals during or after the trail day this Saturday at La Costa.   It is way freaking early in the process, and there are lots of potential landmines out there, but I’m excited about the idea. Here is some additional information of the Trail Day as well some of the on-going concerns and talk about the areas.

-Bill

Giving a little back to Indian Creek

Yesterday, my boys and I joined other volunteers for some trailwork out on the Indian Creek Trail.   Indian Creek is part of the “Tour de Noble” which each year provides many riders with an awesome trail experience.  Today it was time to say thanks to the trail with a little TLC.  With my Saturday mornings typically being locked-up with my boys’ hockey games, it had been quite a while since I was last out for an organized trailwork event.     Luckily we are in between seasons right now.

We met up at the lower Noble Canyon trailhead, where the USFS Ranger escorted our carpooled caravaned up to the trail.   Getting there was a bit of adventure on it’s own.

Carvaning to trailhead   

Once up to the trail, we had a nice hike hike up past the waterfall where we then started give the trail a haircut as well as little treadwork here and there. 

Trailwork

Trailwork

This was my boys’ third trail work event in the area and they put in a solid days work.  By the time they are up to riding Noble Canyon (Which maybe sometime this year) they should not be surprised by most of the lines. 

Jake with Loppers

Here is Jake getting a little creative with getting some leverage with the loppers.

Afterwards Charlie from CalCoast Bicycles raffled off a bunch of really cool swag that included hats, shirts, tires, pumps and more with the grand prize being a Camelbak.  

Swag Tossing!

I have more pictures from the event on my Got Trail?  page. 

If you are interested to helping out with future trailwork events checkout the San Diego Mountain Bike Association’s website.

-Bill

Tis the Season for Rain

Okay I’m getting a bit stir crazy with having to take some time off the bike as well as all the rain.   Folks please give our wet trails some recovery time after these rains.    Here are excerpts from a couple years of this topic being float around on some the various forums sites.    Most folks think there should be some sort of disclaimer with this type of guideline.     Stuff like the rating depends on how much rain we got.   These ratings are based on a good rain.  What we have have had this last week has been a pounding! Please be cautious and add a few more days at least to this recommendation.

Here is what I’m thinking of for a rating system for the San Diego area trails.

 1 – Could ride there in rain or the day after.
2-5 – Two to five days
6-7 – About a week
8-9 – More than a week upwards to three weeks
10 – Place is a wreak after a rain, can take more three weeks to dry out enough so riding on it will not trash it.
Here are the trails I’m looking at (Most here on the site)
North County
—————-
Calvera Lake – 5
Daley Ranch – 3
Elfin Forest – 3
Flightline – 4
Lake Hodges – Northside -7
Lake Hodges – Southside – 7
Nate Harrision Grade – 2 –
Santa Margarita River Trail – 1 – Mostly sandy trails that are best after a good rain packdown.
Tenaja Truck Trail – 2
Mission Trails – 4
Cowles and Pyles Peak –  3
Spring and Oak Canyon – 3
Penasquitos Canyon – Most Trails – 5
Del Mar Mesa – 7 – Place gets some of that sticky clay that will freeze up your tires
Sweetwater – 10 – Probably the worst area in San Diego. Give it a freaking month.
Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch – North End – 4, South End – 8
TriCanyons Area (Rose, San Clemente, Tecolate)
East County
Anderson Truck Trail – 1 – Probably the best in area for after rain riding
Black Mountain in Ramona – 4
Cuyamacas – 6
Lake Morena – 2
Laguna Mountains/BLT – 6
Indian Creek – 3
Noble Canyon -3
Oriflamme Canyon -4

This would also be a good time to gather up some “rules” about San Diego riding after rains. Like:
Give the trails it due time.
Use your brakes wisely, Don’t be a Skidiot!
Ride through any puddles not around it. If you don’t like getting dirty, get a road bike.   This caused quite a bit of discussion.  The general thinking being that if the puddle goes all the way across a trail, trying to go around it is only going to widen the trail and make an even bigger puddle.  Under these conditions it is best to go straight through the puddle.   Now if the puddle does not go all the way and you have room on the orginal trail line, go ahead around it.
Stream crossing – even a small fast moving stream can be very powerful and dangerous.

When in doubt call the land managers to find the full scoop.  SDMBA has a links to them,  or if you can’t get in touch with a land manager, email a SDMBA Liaison, link to SDMBA Liaisons.

 -Bill

The Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve

The 5,312 acre Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, located in the extremely scenic mountains between Santa Yasbel and Julian about 40 miles northeast of San Diego, is one of the prettiest preserves in the county I have seen to date. While fire roads exclusively make up the designated trail system here, you will most likely not mind at all as the beauty of the place makes up for the lack of singletrack options. The rolling open grasslands and oak groves remind me a great deal of Northern California. You can get in just under 20 miles of riding if you do all of the loops and out and back sections.    It is well worth a visit, but you will have to make it a weekend as the perserve is currently only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8AM to Sunset.

See all the of the Review, Maps and Pictures.

Views from the climb to Kanata Flat

-Bill

More Flight Lessons

So one week after getting thumped really good out in Alpine, I was back out there.   This was sort of a test to see how my knee was going to be since I had a big ride planned for a few days later and it was a little tender.   The climb when as expected but the knee was uncomfortable by the time we reached the top.   (Actually, some part of me is nearly always “uncomfortable” by the time I get to the top).  Enough yapping here are some pictures.

   This thing is steeper than it looks.   I swear it looks to be easier as a huck.  Steve is always impressive out here.

 Big Steep Roller

I hit the “Cornroll”.    It is not a bad roller at all but it does mess with you visually as you have to do a quick get up move over the crest of rock which requires you to get up on the front of the bike a bit before getting sliding behind the bike for the roll.   

Cornroll

Frankie aka “Monkey Butt”  joined us for the ride today.

Monkey Butt

More Chucnk Play

Chunk Play

I played in some chunk as well (Photo by Steve)

Bill Chunk

I think this one goes into the “Stupid Human Tricks” Catergory.

Stupid Human Tricks

I had not really planned on doing much of the stunts today with the knee and all but I ended up giving a few things a go.  This bit is a roller or it can be launched.  I had always rolled it before, but today I worked on launching it.  It took me several tried to get enough balls hit with speed, but it felt really good when I did manage to pull it off.    It was cool to make some unplanned progess.

Bill in Air

Nice Evening Light

Nice Light

Final Words – Another Great Day on the Bike! 

-Bill

Flying Lessons in Alpine

So I went out to what is becoming a near-weekly ride out in Alpine to one of the local favorites for aggressive trail/freeriding. The weakest part of my MTB skills (other than fitness) is airing the bike out. My cohort in grime for most of these rides is Steve. Steve has the skills and watching him is like getting free “flight lessons”. Today we had someone else join us who I had not seen in ages, Denny. Denny is pretty well known for his screen name of “Dirty D“. Well the Double D family just got bigger as his wife just recently gave birth to a 9 pounder and change boy. He was pretty stoked about it and Steve and I think we may have to rename him “Daddy D”. The 7 mile climb on my portly long-legged big bike gave me it’s normal beat down. It is a fairly respectable climber considering it’s in the mid-to-upper 30lb weight class. When climbing with this bike you come to “an agreement” with it more so than trying to muscle or hammer your way up the hill.

The climbing was soon over and playtime began. There is plenty of stuff out there that I either do not have the skills or balls to try yet. Every time I go out there I chip away at it and I have been steadily adding a notch here and there to the stunt belt. What I don’t ride I usually take pictures of others riding. I have a lot of pictures from this place 🙂

Here are some of the pictures from yesterdays excursion.

Steve on the newest move out there called “Collarboner.” Named because the first person to give it a try broke his collarbone. Steve on Collarboner

Steve on “Corn Dog

Corn Dog

Another Angle on “Corn Dog

CornDog

Dirty D trusts Steve

DD Jump

Dirty D grabbing some air on “Huck You!”

Huck You

Another Angle of Dirty D coming off “Huck You!”

Huck You

Just a little further down the trail there is a rock jump that I have been working on for the last 3 visits here. I have not been able to get it until today. Today, I made the lead in rock lunge and roll move with no sweat gave a couple of pedal strokes, hit the lip and boom, it done.  Nailed It!  It was really cool to finally hit that thing. This picture was taken when I went back and did it again for the camera. (Photo by Steve)

Bill Jumps

Now I’m feeling awesome. We roll on down the trail and the next significant section that routinely do is the “Waterfall”. It is a steep rocky section that has enough drops to be really challenging. There is a sizable drop at the bottom that is always really tricky, but I have “owned” it now for a couple of months. The trail conditions were great in this section and I was going down it right on mark with a touch more speed than normal.

Yep, I was feeling cocky.

The drop at the bottom had gotten just a touch deeper since the rains and I choose a slightly tougher line to the right. Next thing I know I’m going over the bars to a real thumper of a landing. My right knee was the first point of contact and contact hard it did. This was followed by a short slide which did an excellent job of shifting my pads enough to get in some scrapes just under the edges. At least the bike had a nice soft place to land, MY BACK!

leaking

I’m really glad I had the protective gear on as there is not a doubt in my mind a trip to the ER for some stitches would have happened last night otherwise. Even with the pads, my right knee hurts quite a bit and is swollen a little. It was not a comfortable commute on the bike from the train station to work this morning. Either way it was a good day on the bike and I’m thankful things turn out okay.

“Pads – Cheaper Than Stitches” 

-Bill